Dear Northfield School District Families:
Like many of you, I am still waiting for spring to arrive in Minnesota. We will continue to be patient and know that warmer days are ahead! As always, thank you for your confidence and support in the Northfield School District. We take your trust seriously and truly value the opportunity to educate your students. As a reminder, these semi-monthly updates are intended to provide district-wide updates, include bright spots, and other information associated with the district’s strategic plan.
Budget prioritization update
I have previously shared information about the need for the district to reduce its expenditures (Update Nos. 16, 17, 20, 22, 24, 25, and 26) by approximately $4.5 million over the next two years due to chronic state underfunding and projected declining enrollment of 400 students over the next 10 years. Approximately 70 people participated in our budget prioritization teams this winter to help the district identify the programs and services that will best help us reach our strategic plan’s vision, commitments, and benchmarks. These program and service reductions are difficult because every program and service we offer has meaning to someone in the school district. Reductions are painful because they impact our students, friends, and neighbors. However, we need to take action to maintain the district’s financial sustainability. You can read the most detail about the budget prioritization process and the proposed program and service reductions as part of District Family Update No. 26. We do not take these reductions lightly but also must articulate their necessity.
The school board formally heard the proposed program and service reductions at its regular meeting on April 25. The following are the next steps in the budget process:
Tuesday, May 3: A community open forum will be held at Northfield Middle School, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. This forum will include a presentation about the prioritization process and proposed reductions, an opportunity to meet in groups with school board members and district administrators, and an opportunity to participate in a public comment segment about the proposed budget reductions.
Monday, May 9: The school board will finalize and approve program reductions at their regular school board meeting.
Please reach out to me directly if you have any questions or concerns about the budget prioritization process.
Northfield High School facility task force
The Northfield High School facility task force has met three times and holds its next meeting on April 28. Over 30 stakeholders representing staff, students, parents, and community members serve on the task force. The task force continues to focus on updates at the existing facility to make the building operate more efficiently and better serve students’ educational needs.
The district continues monthly anti-racism training seminars with licensed staff. In March, the training included instructional techniques intended to ensure intentional inclusivity in classroom discussions. In April, teachers conducted a “tabletop exercise” where they analyzed two scenarios where a student made a racist or homophobic statement in class and how they might address the situation.
New leadership: student activities and technology services
We are proud to welcome two new administrators to our district’s leadership team. Bubba Sullivan will be the new Northfield High School Director of Student Activities and Nate Knutson is the new Director of Technology Services.
Bubba is a Northfield High School graduate who returned to NHS and has taught English since 1989. During his time in Northfield, Bubba has coached football, track and field, hockey, and golf. He begins his appointment as Director of Student Activities on July 1. Bubba will replace Joel Olson, who has accepted the Faribault High School principal position.
Nate Knutson has worked for the Northfield School District since 2004 as a technology specialist and as the district’s network manager since 2010. During that time, Nate has played a significant role in every technology equipment implementation and upgrade. He will be appointed to a position that combines his current responsibilities as Network Manager with the former Director of Technology Services position held by Kim Briske. Kim accepted a new job with the Learning Network of Minnesota.
We thank Joel and Kim for their service to the district and are excited to have Bubba and Nate join our leadership team!
Northfield local and regional transit survey
Understanding where and how people travel in Northfield is important to everyone in the community. The City of Northfield is conducting a local and regional transit survey and the results will be used to determine the best transportation solutions. This survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and closes April 30. It is available in both English ci.northfield.mn.us/TransitSurvey & Spanish ci.northfield.mn.us/EncuestaDelTransporte.
School board meeting update
The school board held a regular board meeting on April 25. The board packet & table file are located on our website. The board approved the consent agenda and a resolution for the non-renewal of probationary staff. A video of the regular board meeting is available on our website and you can listen to my recap of the meeting on KYMN radio.
As always, we are grateful for our partnership with you. Please feel free to reach out to me with any feedback you have about the school district.
Matt Hillmann, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools